Throughout this blog, I’ve written a lot about the benefits of local SEO for small businesses and today I want to review yet another: customer buying journey visibility.
Just as a quick refresher on what SEO is, it’s the process of improving a web page so that it has the best chance to rank highly when people search for topics related to that web page’s content.
If a web page ranks first on a search results page, it has the best chance of getting clicked on and viewed by the person searching.
Searching for different terms in a search engine will obviously yield different results, depending on the search intent — or reason — a person is searching.
As you’ll see below, you can use search intent to build your very own SEO buying journey for your small business customer.
If a person is searching for things related to a particular service or product that you offer they’re on path known as a buying journey.
Customer buying journeys can look very different depending on industry, product or service but when people search for things online, search intent generally can be boiled down to four categories:
In this zone of your customer journey, your customer is simply just looking for information about the products and services you offer.
Many companies develop useful content that answers basic pre-sales questions about the products and services they offer.
Content at this stage is not meant to “sell” the product or service — simply educate.
Let’s take an interior house painting company as an example. Searches for “bedroom painting ideas” would fall into the learning zone.
While a user may eventually be interested in having their bedroom painted by a local company, at this stage the user is looking for ideas so providing content that simply offers ideas is a great way to provide useful information in this learning stage.
A step further down the buying journey is what I would call the “consideration” zone. They’ve done their research, gathered ideas and are ready to consider options for buying a product or hiring a company to perform a service.
People searching for “pricing” or “cost” terms or are reading reviews about a particular product or company, for example, are typically well within the consideration zone and are close to making a purchase or hiring a local service.
Following the interior house painting company example above, “cost to paint my bedroom” would be search term likely to be someone considering options for getting their bedroom painted.
Known as “transactional” intent, people in this zone are highly likely to make a purchase in or around the moment they are searching.
Search terms in this zone can look quite different for different businesses, but for local businesses a typical search for someone in the buying zone could include “near me”.
They’ve studied the product or service in the learning zone, reviewed options and costs in the consideration zone and are now looking for help from a company that is close to where they are living.
For the house painting company a very simple “buying zone” search would be “interior painting companies near me”.
This zone can also vary quite a bit depending on the type of business, but people in this zone already have a company in mind and want to navigate to their website right away.
Let’s say the interior house painting company name is “Widget Painting” — then a navigational search term could be “widget painting phone number” or “widget painting estimate”.
After reading this blog I hope you have a better understanding what a buying journey is and how SEO can enhance your visibility when customers are searching for things online about your business.
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